Archive for Monday, September 30, 2013

Editorial: Education image

Kansas’ image as a state that values education is taking a significant hit in recent news reports.

September 30, 2013


Some recent association reports are making it look like Kansas doesn’t care very much about education.

In mid-July, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities released a report showing that Kansas was one of just five states in the country that didn’t increase its financial support to state universities this year. While most states increased higher education funding by an average of 3.6 percent for the current fiscal year, the group said, Kansas approved cuts to state university budgets amounting to about 3 percent over the next two years.

Then, earlier this month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released data that showed state funding for K-12 education in Kansas, when adjusted for inflation, had declined by about 17 percent since 2008. That was the fourth largest funding decline of any state in the nation.

This kind of publicity certainly doesn’t project the kind of image Kansas is hoping to foster around the country.

As is true of any report, these ratings on education spending are open to interpretation. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is seen by some as a left-leaning group, and the conservative Kansas Policy Institute disputed the K-12 funding report saying it misrepresented the figures by counting only funding that came directly from the state and not local tax revenues authorized by the state. The KPI figures show considerably higher “taxpayer support” for education, but also confirms the responsibility placed on local property tax levies to fund K-6 education.

Mark Tallman, associate executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards offered another perspective on K-12 funding in an Internet posting last week. He contended that per-pupil spending in Kansas, when adjusted for inflation, had gone almost unchanged between 2004 and 2013. “The only significant increase in spending since 2004,” he wrote, “has been in KPERS (state retirement fund) contributions and local bond issues and capital outlay funding approved by local voters.”

From its founding, Kansas has prided itself on the quality of its schools and the excellence of its universities. During October, the Kansas Supreme Court will once again hear arguments about whether the state is adequately funding K-12 schools. Also during October, Kansas legislators will tour the state’s universities seeking answers to a long list of questions they say will help guide their higher education funding decisions in the next legislative session.

Maybe Kansas is doing fine. Maybe the state’s public schools and public universities can produce great results even with current funding levels. But if Kansas truly is bucking a national trend on both K-12 and higher education funding, it may not bode well for the state’s future educational and economic success.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Let's be real. What's going on is the destruction of out public education system in favor of turning our public education system over to private industry. This will remove parents from the equation and increase the cost of K-12 education across the board.

Additionally neighborhood schools could be lost. Time to pull our heads out of the sand.

Our public school system cannot survive constant budget cuts. Our public school system cannot survive ALEC and Sam Brownback because the legislature has no backbone. Brownback wields his executive privilege like a dictator.

ALEC and Sam Brownback is out to bankrupt USD 497 and the Kansas public education system such that is taking place in Detroit with a governor of the same ALEC mindset. It's taking place in Ohio and Wisconsin slowly but most certainly. Unfortunately our state republicans have been led by ALEC far too long and have been killing our funding system before Sam Brownback arrived from Washington D.C.

What's Up? ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

And. Knowing more about the enemies to public education, the working class and our communities is important.

Vouchers are a vehicle to funnel tax dollars into private schools. Using the false promise of “choice,” they are an unabashed abandonment of public education and of our hopes for a vibrant democracy.

Time to stop pretending. We don't need Kansas government services turned over to private industry. Private industry has a long history of fraud against taxpayers. Let's not pretend.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

I say it is time to rein our legislators and make it against the law to conspire with ALEC ..... a secret organization using OUR tax dollars to take over our state.

sciencegeek 4 years, 7 months ago

No surprise. The Brownback administration and its sycophant wingnuts in the Legislature see no reason to support public education. They and theirs can afford private schools, and the teeming masses don't really need an education--they just need to do as they are told by the elite who, after all, are the only ones who really count.....

John McCoy 4 years, 7 months ago

sciencegeek, you could be describing Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature. Looks as though Kansas is trying to rival Texas' anti-intellectual politics. Here in Texas, the governor and his minions in the legislature hate public schools, universities, and teachers. They would like to see education at all levels "privatized." Hence, they refuse to adequately fund public schools, community colleges, universities, Sorry to see the same thing going on in Kansas.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 7 months ago

Welcome to Muscular Sam's new Middle Ages.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

There are about 16 governors managing an ALEC takeover of state services. All of these governors are of the same identical mindset as Sam Brownback and Rick Perry. In fact I believe three are named Rick.

Corporate takeover by the same thinkers who spend billions subverting governments and democracy. The word is NO.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 7 months ago

My son is looking at moving to Oregon to continue his college education. Why? OR has invented an entirely new model; deferred tuition. No loans involved, no interest, just a signed contract that so much per year will be tacked on to the taxes you pay. While you're in school, all a student has to pay are books, activity fees and housing and Pell grants can be used for all of those.
Just another "clever idea" from the Left Coast.

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